First time towing our new caravan with our Tesla Model X 75D

A couple of weeks after we got our Model X 75D we decided on buying a caravan.  When not towing anything, the 75kWh battery is big enough to get between superchargers, but when towing a big caravan the range is roughly cut in half, so how would this go? We really regretted not getting at least the 90kWh battery pack, but done is done so let’s see how that works out 🙂

At the big caravan exhibition in Lillestrøm (and after reading a lot on Internet including other Model X owners experiences) we decided on a Adria Alpina 663 uk which is very aero dynamical, only has one shaft and should be ok to tow.  It has a total weight (including the stuff we put in) of 2000kg.  Here are some pictures from the caravan exhibition:

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Months went by, I got my drivers license for towing heavy stuff, and finally we were due to pick up our brand new 2018 model at Sunnmøre Caravan in Stryn during the winter holiday.  We planned one night at Stryn Camping to be close to the shop in case something went wrong, and one night at Førde on the way home.  Norway has a lot of chargers now, so it should be ok.

We arrived and picked up the Caravan from the very nice people at Sunnmøre Caravan.  We got a long introduction to how everything works, and off we went to Stryn Camping to test it out.  First time towing anything even close to this length (8.7 meters from end to the car), but the km or so went fine and we arrived and parked at the camping site.

We opted for the “mover” which means I can disconnect it from the car and remote control drive it like a remote controlled car.  It worked very well 🙂

At this point I should probably tell you that it is winter, and as cold as it gets in these parts of Norway: around -15 degrees Celsius.  The caravan however, has warm water circulating through the floor and walls, and it is insulated for winter usage down to -20.  However, this temperature does not really help on the range for electric cars, and Stryn is at the end of a long fjord in between very high mountains, so the first trip is a kind of an extreme test of how the Tesla will do towing this heavy caravan.  Tomorrow will be an exciting day – will we reach the next charger? The usage on the way up (without towing anything) was already high – close to 300wh/km, so it would be exciting…

The first evening we broke in the kitchen making a taco dinner.  The Caravan has an amazing kitchen with 3 gas cook tops, a gas oven with a builtin gas barbecue, a big refrigerator and freezer and a microwave oven, so no worries making food here!

The next morning, after sleeping very well in the hot Caravan (with around -15 to -20 outside), we had a nice breakfast.

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The car had been charging at the camping site during the night, but we arrived with an almost empty battery so 13amp charging had not exactly filled it up.  We charged for a little while at a Chademo quick charger in Stryn and then off we went towards Sandane Supercharger and then Førde having around 80% battery capacity.  We planned our trip through Nordfjordeid, since the road we arrived through over the Utvik mountain was really not very good for towing a big caravan.  This is the road we planned on going – charging at the Sandane Supercharger:

180306 - Rute fra Stryn til Førde

However, we did a n00b mistake and followed the in-car-navigation instead of looking at Google Maps while driving… This lead to taking the road along the fjord passing Blaksæter, Randabygda and lots of other very small places along the fjord.  This road was so narrow I could barely get past with the car and caravan, it was extremely bad with bumps, frost heave and sharp turns, and the whole way it was down to the small place at the fjord, up the mountain, down, up and so on.  180306 - Faktisk kjørevei fra Stryn til Lote ferjekaiWe were worried we might not reach the next charger, and extremely worried we would meet on-coming traffic at a bad spot.  Luckily we made it to Lote ferry pier with enough juice left to arrive safely at Sandane Supercharger.  What an extreme first leg with our new caravan!  The usage was very high, averaging at over 700wh/km on this part of the leg.  However what an amazing car the Model X is to tow a heavy caravan!  It has so much power, I am sure I would win a race against most fossil cars going uphill – with me towing the 2000kg caravan and the fossil car not towing anything.  We talked a little with the guys taking money for the ferry and when they heard where we had driven, they laughed hard.  It was not exactly the recommended route 🙂  The ferry was also electric – which is nice!20180302_135028

The rest of the trip went fine.  We stopped at the Sandane Supercharger, disconnected the caravan and charged the car while we went and ate some pizza at a local restaurant.  Then we drove to Førde and arrived at the camping site with no problems at all.  The Model X is just an amazing car, and the biggest problem is the narrow Norwegian roads that makes it very difficult to drive with a long caravan behind the car.  The power in the Tesla however makes accelerating a dream – almost like you don’t have a 2000kg caravan behind you 🙂  Including the extreme leg between Stryn and Lote the whole trip to Førde averaged at around 450wh/km – which isn’t bad considering the bad roads, up and down mountains, lots of stop and start because of the narrow roads and the low temperature.

After another good night sleep at Førde Gjestehus og Camping we set off towards Bergen and Askøy, our home:

180306 - Rute fra Førde og hjem

We planned on charging at Lavik Supercharger and possibly at Haukås Supercharger if need be.  The trip went fine, arriving at Lavik with lots of power to spare.  I disconnected the caravan and we charged while taking a stroll catching Pokemons and Ingress portals, and then we ate some food in the caravan.  The car got to 100% before we had finished eating…

Then we took another electric ferry from Lavik to Oppedal, and drove on towards Bergen.  It should be noted that all of this trip the road goes up and down mountains, so the usage is as high as it should ever get.  When we got close to Haukås I decided I would charge for a tiny amount just to be sure to get home safely, and we disconnected the caravan and charged for about 10 minutes.  It is very busy at the Haukås Supercharger, which is at a petrol station, and the mover came in handy to turn the caravan around using the remote.20180303_164303

Then we drove home, and concluded it would have been fine without the last charge stop, but better safe than sorry…

The whole trip from Stryn averaged out at about 450wh/km – which isn’t really bad considering the roads we took, the temperature, all the road construction going on, the bumpy roads, the narrow roads making me stop and start to pass ongoing traffic all the time.  I reckon the range with this caravan will be around 150km during bad winter conditions and around 200km during summer and possibly better roads. That’s not too bad, since Norway is now full of both Superchargers and Chademo quick chargers.

We’re really looking forward to this summer when we will go on a long trip to Sweden and Denmark.  Towing a big caravan with the Tesla Model X is at least not any problem at all!

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